From a pure football standpoint, there aren't a ton of games that jump out to me this week. The last two Hardknocks teams face off as the Texans travel to Atlanta to play the undefeated Falcons. Mike Smith must have been holding that team back as the most boring head coach ever. This week also starts the need for bye week management. The Patriots and the Titans are both on break this weekend so Gronk will go two calendar weeks without a TD. Not sure that will happen again this year.
Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals - Andy Dalton aka the Red Rifle lit up the Ravens last week as he found AJ Green for a ridiculous 227 yards and 2 scores. Dalton has been really good so far this year and while the Chiefs couldn't slow down the ninja throws of Aaron Rodgers, they have a pretty good defense that is getting Sean Smith back this week. I'd like to see what Green and Dalton can do against a pair of good corners. It will also be interesting to see if this rushing attack can do anything as Jeremy Hill has thus far been a disappointment. On the other side of the ball, let's see if Alex Smith can get the ball to Travis Kelce and Jeremy Maclin. Kelce is a personal favorite of mine and after a huge week 1, he's posted pedestrian numbers the last two weeks. Maclin had a big game last week, finally getting into the end zone, which is 1 more than every receiver the Chiefs had last year.
Andrew Luck vs. Jacksonville - This is a surprise to find Luck under the microscope as he was a consensus top 2 QB choice this August. The Andre Johnson experiment appears to have failed and they're shuffling the deck chairs, hoping that Donte Moncrief can solidify the #2 role and Phillip Dorsett can step up and make an early impact. Luck has all the talent in the world, but turnovers and a lack of time have led to a dismal start. If he can't put a crooked number up against Jacksonville, time to panic.
Keenan Allen vs. Joe Haden - I think Haden is a bit overrated but he is certainly a good corner that can limit the production of good wide receivers. Allen profiles as an ultra-efficient possession receiver who can turn high volume targets into great results in PPR and solid WR2 results in standard scoring. What we need to figure out is can he do it against quality corners or will he disappear like he did in week 2?
Alfred Morris vs. Matt Jones - Most everyone in the fantasy community is ready to kick Alfred Morris to the curb in favor of Matt Jones. Morris has never inspired the fantasy community as he is not a game breaker and provides more of the "high floor / low ceiling" running back that, while useful, rarely wins games on his own. Jones looks more like the kind of back we're excited to play every week because he could take your team on his back and carry you to victory. Last week looked like Jones was taking over. If we see two straight weeks, we can assume Jones is the starter going forward.
4 Defenses to Use - I like the Panthers this weekend against Tampa Bay and Philadelphia against the team from Washington. If you need to and can hold your nose, the GB defense is a smart play against the struggling San Francisco 49ers. If your waiver wire has been plucked, take a shot with Indianapolis who gets to play Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
4 Defenses to Abuse - Start all of your Colts (vs. Jacksonville), Panthers (vs. Tampa Bay), Raiders (vs. Chicago), and Packers (vs. SF). Cam Newton could put up silly numbers so don't hide him on your bench if you can help it. If you want to roll with Donte Moncrief or even give Dorsett a shot, I can sign off on that. I wouldn't start the tertiary options on the Packers like Ty Montgomery if you can help it, but James Jones is definitely in the circle of trust right now.
Shotgun Longshot - Derek Carr vs. Chicago - Carr is quickly becoming trustworthy as a starting QB in the fantasy world and this week he, unfortunately, has a good matchup against our Bears. This will be my first up close viewing of Carr this year and I'm interested to see if he's taking the next step. If you're looking for help at a suddenly injury-riddled position, Carr is a good choice.
Toss Sweep Sleeper - TJ Yeldon vs. Indianapolis - The rookie running back has established himself as the lead dog in Jacksonville, but it's been tough sledding for this team so far. Indianapolis is susceptible to the run and it will be interesting to see if Yeldon can take advantage. Yeldon probably isn't available in your league but if he's sitting on your bench, it will likely be worth starting him.
Fly Route Flier - Percy Harvin vs. NY Giants - Harvin's targets have been steady so far this season and with Sammy Watkins likely out with a calf injury this weekend, I like his potential. Harvin excels at the underneath routes and the Giants struggle at linebacker and are battling some injuries to their corners. It wouldn't surprise me if we see a lot of Harvin this week.
Public Service Announcement - Antonio Gates will serve his 4th and final game of his suspension this weekend. He will return to a Chargers team that is desperate for his services. Rivers absolutely loves targeting Gates and if you whiffed at TE or have a flex spot worth filling, I'd encourage you to make room for Gates now if he's available.
What are you looking forward to the most this weekend? Anyone throwing an interesting dart at the board?